At Home: 2.20.15

The house is buried in snow this winter. Not literally, but almost. I’ve had lots of time inside to look around my house and wish I had resources of every kind to make it look better. But then I make a cup of coffee and look around a second time and remember: the snow is outside, I am inside, warm and drinking a cup of coffee. Right now I’m not too worried about refinishing the floor and repainting the walls. It could be a lot, lot worse.

At Home: 3.19.14

Like the snow still lingering outside, right now my house is dirty, grey, and irritating to behold. I looked around this week and realized that being trapped (more or less) in this place for the last several months has become a sort of anthropological experience: signs of small children and the worlds they create are everywhere. Sometimes the signs that children dominate this place  are random, sometimes they are deliberate, little displays set up with care. Until I step on these displays and kick the composition across the room. Which leads me to my biggest surprise as a parent, and it’s not how very terrible potty training has been. It has to do with how much kids love the floor. How much they adore littering the floor with stuff,  taking every opportunity — and where none exists, they create one — to throw things, small and large, on the floor. A large part of my day is picking stuff up: library books (please don’t tell Carol, our beloved librarian, this fact), legos, puzzle pieces, cups, food stuffs, more cups, articles of clothing, on and on and on. But it’s not just the floor, children just generally love a surface, any surface, to spill things on, write things on, leave things on. So this month’s “At Home” photo essay is dedicated to my dirty, end-of-winter house and its small inhabitants. And to the fact that we bid winter goodbye this week, at least officially if not in reality. So long winter, 2014. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you monster.

Resources: Block Printed Textiles

Julia Garrison lives and works in the town I live in, beautiful Rockport, Massachusetts. She’s one of those all-around creative people — I’ve tasted delicious homemade fish chowder that she made so I know she makes a mean meal among other things — who, when she’s not off painting on a movie set, is working in her studio as a block printer. Julia’s has a line of goods ranging from block-printed cards to pillows to aprons, all sold online and from the Sarah Elizabeth Shop in Rockport, which doubles as her studio. She inherited the use of an antique acorn press, as well as the rights to print archived designs from Sarah Elizabeth Holloran, the shop’s namesake and founder, and Isabel Natti, who worked closely with Sarah Elizabeth for years and owned the shop before Julia.

Sarah Elizabeth Holloran was a member of the Folly Cove Designers, a collective which existed until 1969 (and is well worth discovering if you don’t know about their work already) and it is fascinating to realize that Julia’s shop and studio space is a link of sorts to the region’s strong heritage of block printing. Stop by the Sarah Elizabeth Shop to see Julia’s work and check out the studio and shop space, which she just refreshed with great industrial pieces that complement the acorn press, a look that is perfect for the 21st century — a time when we appreciate handprinted textiles once again, but now we can buy them via an iPhone app. And if you can’t make it to Rockport, you can see Julia’s line at www.sarah-elizabeth-shop.com

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T-shirts

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Reading Material

Another snowstorm is predicted for this weekend and along with bread, milk and eggs (french toast for everyone!), these are just some of the books I wish I had stacked up on my library table while the wind howls outside:

1. The Way Home by Jeffrey Bilhuber 2. The Invention of the Past: The Interior Design and Architecture of Studio Peregalli 3. The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death by Corinne May Boltz 4. American Modern by Thomas O’Brien 5. Wabi Inspirations by Axel Vervoordt 6. Irving Harper: Works in Paper

Winter White & Silver

Thomas Philbrook: Rockport in February

Main Street in February: Rockport, Massachusetts {photo credit: Thomas Philbrook}

It’s snowing here in New England again, and if you’re a kid, a skier or someone who plows for extra income, then today is a good day for you. Right now I’m sitting by the fire with a hot cup of fresh coffee, so it turns out today is a good day for me too.

Another feature of today is that it is the last day to enter your story in our I Love My Vintage _____ contest, which really serves as an excuse to hear your tales and see your stuff.  If you’ve taken the time to participate in this year’s contest or last, thank you so much! I plan on sharing your stories over the next few days so that everyone can enjoy them, especially non-Facebookers (and there are many of you out there).

As I was harassing people this all week about entering, I began to think about my favorite vintage item and what I would choose if I were submitting an entry to this contest. It’s actually tougher than I thought. Because what is meaningful to me isn’t necessarily all that appealing, or it doesn’t have a great story attached. And sometimes it’s hard to articulate why we care about the things we care about.  I look around my house at all my stuff, and nearly every piece holds significance of some sort, even if the item itself is worthless.

One thing that I’ve carted around with me since I was 16 years old is a large silver loving cup. I picked it up out of a pile of trash during an auction at an old YMCA just before it was torn down in Springfield, Ohio. It was one of the first times I felt brave enough to defy convention and publicly declare my affinity for something that other people considered trash. All these years later, Midwesterners still love to tear down and throw away anything old (every time I go back to Ohio another old building has been reduced a pile of rubble), but now I’m smart enough to know that they’re the crazy ones, not me.

Vintage Love Contest: Trophy

Everything I buy is vintage and smells funny. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend.

— actress Lucy Liu